There’s a fine line between grieving and allowing your emotions to affect your life and relationships, and it’s often tough to notice when we’ve crossed that line. Dealing with grief of any kind can take a different toll on everyone, but regardless of whether it’s the death of a loved one, a break up, or the loss of a friendship, the ways to cope remain fairly consistent.
Thankfully, society as a whole has become more open to discussing mental health, and resources are becoming more readily available.
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Dealing with Grief: 5 Ways to Cope
Talk about it
To whom is up to you. If you feel like you’re becoming more and more depressed and worry that you won’t be able to pick yourself up without professional help, don’t hesitate to see a therapist. Sometimes you just need a friend to talk to, so get a coffee with someone you feel comfortable with. If you’re not much of a talker, write your feelings in a journal.
Any form of emotional expression is beneficial—the only wrong way to cope with grief is to hold your feelings in and pretend they don’t exist.
Most doctors will recommend exercise to anyone who feels like they’re becoming depressed as a first step to managing those negative feelings. That doesn’t mean you have to push yourself like you’re training for a marathon, though. Any kind of movement that increases your heart rate and releases endorphins will do, whether it’s going for a run or dancing around your room.
If you have a pet, take them for lots of walks; if you have a child, chase them around your backyard. Try to incorporate a few heart rate–increasing activities into your day and you’ll notice yourself feeling physically and mentally better.
The best way to help yourself is to help others. Whether you volunteer at a local animal shelter or organize your own fundraiser, putting your efforts into caring for others can help subside your grief. You can get more involved at work, school, your kids’ school, doing things for others will take your mind off of your loss in a positive way.
Recognize Your Grieving Process
Everyone wants to help their family and friends through their grief, but we all grieve differently. Some people heal through talking, some heal through celebrating the life of the person they lost, or watching old videos, or traveling, and some heal by spending time alone with their thoughts. Appreciate those who are trying to help you, but also don’t be afraid to tell them what you need—even if it’s for them to give you some space.
Keep up Your Routine
Having responsibilities is really helpful when you’re grieving because it helps you stick to your routine as closely as you’re able to. If you have to take your dog out every morning, it prevents you from staying in bed all day…. Of course, the extent of your loss and the toll it takes on your life can vary, and in certain cases, you may have to take time off work or school, but it’s still important to stick to some sort of daily routine.
A healthy combination of working through your emotions and sticking to a routine will help you process dealing with grief while preventing you from getting to a point where you don’t leave your bed for days or weeks at a time.